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PitchNOLA finalists awarded $27,500 in Lots of Progress and Community Solutions competitions

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The fourth annual PitchNOLA event, presented by Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), Tulane University, and the Metropolitan Opportunities Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, took place on November 14 and 15 and resulted in a total amount of $27,500 in cash prizes. Between the two competitions, Community Solutions and Lots of Progress, there were more than 100 high-quality applications with 650 people registered to attend.

PitchNOLA Community Solutions |
PitchNOLA 2012 kicked off with the Community Solutions competition held at Tulane University on Wednesday, November 14. Ten Semi-Finalists took the stage to give their 3-minute pitch for an idea that solved a social or environmental problem in New Orleans. Ideas ranged from a youth radio station to a way for public schools to find great substitutes. The evening’s judges included Bill Bohnett, Judy Reese Morse, and Leslie Jacobs.
Initially, there was a $5,000 first place prize, and a Baker Donelson sponsored Audience Favorite Award of $500. However, in an unexpected turn of events, an anonymous attendee contributed $12,000 to fund a $4,000 second place prize, a $3,000 third Place prize, and $5,000 in seed funding for another Semi-Finalist, Smiles2Geaux, a mobile dental clinic founded by Propeller Fellow Dr.Yaye Sarr that provides free dental care to youth in schools and the elderly!
First Place: Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana (JAC)
Founders: Ameca Reali and Adrienne Wheeler (2012 Propeller Fellows)
JAC provides expungements to individuals previously incarcerated for non-violent crimes to help them get back to work instead of back to prison.
Second Place & Audience Favorite Award: Birthmark Doula Collective
Founders: Latona Giwa and Dana Karen (2012 Propeller Fellows)
Birthmark Doula Collective works to address the horrible birth outcomes in New Orleans by facilitating better birth experiences for women. The Doula Collective works to provide all women, regardless of ability to pay, the opportunity to choose what kind of prenatal and birth experience is best for themselves and their families.
Third Place: The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project
Founder: Megan Nuismer
The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project is an urban harvesting program that collects fruit that would otherwise go to waste, and makes it accessible to those struggling with hunger.

PitchNOLA Lot's of Progress |
On Thursday, November 15, Propeller welcomed the public for the first time to the Propeller Social Innovation Incubator, located at 4035 Washington Avenue. Two hundred fifty attendees filled the room to watch eleven Semi-Finalists give a 3-minute pitch for utilizing a vacant or blighted property for community benefit. This year’s judges included world-renowned chef John Besh, NORA Executive Director Jeff Hebert, and Dr. Maurice Cox, Director of Tulane City Center.
First Place: Get Fruity About Trees
Founder: David Young
Get Fruity About Trees will transform 2 vacant lots in the Lower 9th Ward into a citrus, banana and fig orchard.
Second Place: Goats of Progress
Founders: Caitlin Bergo, David Behmer, Jacquelyn Dadakis
Goats of Progress is a property-maintenance service that harnesses the natural appetite of goats to control undesirable vegetation.
Third Place: Develop Abundance
Founders: Cat Kochanski
Develop Abundance uses hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic technologies to provide resources to communities in need.
Hosts and Sponsors of PitchNOLA 2012
Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, Tulane Social Innovation Initiatives, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), Tulane University A.B. Freeman School of Business, Metropolitan Opportunities Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Adams & Reese Law Firm, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, New Orleans Metro SourceLink (Regional Planning Commission), Line 58, Capital One Bank, Urban Land Institute, and Louisiana Office of Community Development.

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
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